From The Editor

April 2017

I sometimes wonder what the first Easter morning was like to experience. It seemed a quiet time, and the gospels present a lot of doubt regarding it: no Alleluias were sung, no Easter cake was eaten, no Easter garden blessing! There was, however, a lot of sadness as the women wandered to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. Then, later in the morning, the story of the two disciples on the Emmaus journey played out.

Easter is a journey, not a one-day event. Maybe this is why each of the eight days after Easter, the octave, is called Easter Day, and we have forty days to the Ascension of the Lord, and another ten to the coming of the Spirit. The faith of the followers developed gradually over time. In Jesus, who listened keenly to all those who shared their story with him, they found faith.

Much deepening of our own faith comes from our experience of others, as was the case with Thomas finding faith, and the Emmaus disciples.

The journey of discovery: from sadness to joy, from doubt to faith, from disillusionment to confidence, is a long one made amongst our peers. It brings challenges akin to those of Thomas: we wander away from the community and then return. All leading ultimately to our own personal confession of faith.

Various occasions in life serve to deepen our faith. Maybe a child’s first communion or a grandchild’s baptism can call one further into faith. Perhaps a bereavement could lead to the discovery of a ‘dark love of faith’, as discussed in March Messenger, resulting in some comfort.

Illness and death can spur faith too; in fear, some sense the outstretched, wounded hand of the risen Lord! Maybe you have been badly hurt in life, and somehow you find the strength to pray for the person who harmed you, in turn allowing you to find some freedom to heal.

Of course too, you may fall in love, make a long-term commitment, and find faith through a beautiful new relationship.

The door to faith is opened wide on Easter morning. It is the Lord who knocks and asks to come into our lives to love us just as we are. That’s what Easter was for those first followers of Jesus.

They took a while to learn the Easter hymns but then their Alleluias were full-throated and sung from the heart.

Wishing a happy, grace-filled Easter to you, our faithful readers.

Donal Neary SJ